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BRAVE NEW WORLD By Aldous Huxley

Updated on August 23, 2017

You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. -- Aldous Huxley

 

Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel BRAVE NEW WORLD raised controversy when it was first published, and the debate has barely changed in all this time.  Frequently challenged with banning attempts, the novel depicts a future of conspicuous consumption, medicated emotional stability and reproduction via eugenics and cloning.

O, wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in't!

-- Miranda, THE TEMPEST

Huxley took the name of his novel from this passage in Shakespeare's play.

Ending is better than mending, ending is better than mending; the more stitches, the less riches, the more stitches, the less riches; I love new clothes, I love new clothes....

-- hypnomædia conditioning tape

Conversations with Aldous Huxley

Adaptations of BRAVE NEW WORLD

This novel has never made it to the movie screen, but it has been brought to television screens twice.

Soma

"Fortunate boys!" said the Controller. "No pains have been spared to make your lives emotionally easy -- to preserve you, so far as that is possible, from having emotions at all."

The consumption of the drug "soma" in BRAVE NEW WORLD is universal, with workers being given regular dispensations along with their weekly paychecks. Light doses impart a sense of well-being and happiness, and stronger doses result in a more intense "vacation." The usage is so pervasive that individuals who might reveal that they don't use the substance or don't really enjoy taking it can be ostracized or reported to higher authorities. It's described in one passage as being "Euphoric, narcotic, pleasantly hallucinant.... All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects."

This facet has been one of the points of contention that results in this book receiving so many banning challenges over the years. Any sort of extreme emotion is considered distasteful and thus the entire population is drugged into a median level of "contentment" with no ecstatic highs or depressive lows. Huxley made his drug perfect, with no physical side-effects and no addictive-build up or resistance that develops over time.

With the ever-increasing use of antidepressants and other mood-enhancing medications, many people feel twenty-first century society is slowly but surely heading in the direction of Huxley's fiction. Below are a series of commercials produced by students for classes where they were studying BRAVE NEW WORLD.

Are We Headed For A Brave New World? - for those of you who have read the book...

Do you think our society is becoming like what you see in Brave New World?

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